The Law Offices of Christine G. DeBernadis, Esq.

Our goal is to help you understand every aspect of your legal matter to ensure you have a successful outcome.

Contact Us

Firm Overview

-We will review the applicable law and show you how it applies to the facts of your case.
-We will advise you of the different possible outcomes in your case and provide you with all the information that you need to make your decisions along the way.
-We will guide you through the legal process and advise you of the probable outcome of each and every step of your case.
-We will take the time to understand your needs and concerns and do our best to be mindful of the issues that are most important to you.

We care about your case and strive to get you the best outcome possible for:
-criminal law
-divorce
-custody/visitation/support
-post-divorce
-debt collection
-paternity

We can also help you with real estate transactions, landlord/tenant issues, employment related matters, incorporation, debt collection and estate planning.
Please call now to schedule a consultation or contact us via email. We are here to help with your matter and eager to assist you.
Main Office

New Hampshire Office
1 New Hampshire Ave
Suite 125
Portsmouth  NH  03801

Phone
  • (603)-373-0545
Fax

Other Offices

  • Massachusetts Office
    2 South Main Street
    PO Box 25
    Middleton,  MA  01949
Child Custody
Once paternity has been established or a divorce proceeding has been commenced, the Court must award custody of the child(ren) and visitation to the parties.
There are two types of custody: legal and physical.

Legal custody is parent's right to make decisions for the child (i.e. education, religion, medical care) and the parent's duty to care for the child. When sole legal custody is granted to a parent, s/he has the right to make decisions for the child alone and without consult of the other parent. When joint legal custody is granted to a parent, s/he must consult with the other parent before making decisions for the child.

Physical custody determines where the child lives. When sole physical custody is granted to a parent, the child lives with that parent on a day to day basis. The other parent usually has visitation (absent a safety issue). When joint physical custody is awarded to a parent, the child lives part of the week with one parent and part of the week with the other. Joint physical custody is only considered in cases where the parties live in close proximity and are able to communicate and work well together.

To determine how much time the child spends with each parent, the court will consider what is in the best interest of the child. The Court considers many factors which may include history of the child’s care, home environment, stability of the parent, other persons that live in the home (i.e. children, significant other, roommate), substance abuse, mental illness, proximity to school, ability to transport the children. It is important not to get upset at the use of these words. The most important thing is that the children are spending time with each of their parents in a positive, loving environment.

Since these issues are ever changing, the Court may be called upon to reconsider custody or visitation at any point in time if there is a material change in circumstances. Therefore, if a parent is unsatisfied with the Court's decision, there is always the possibility that she or he can take steps to improve their situation and request different custody or visitation arrangements.
Child Support
Generally, child support is calculated in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines take into account the incomes of each parent, child care costs and the medical insurance premium.
MASSACHUSETTS:
Child support is based on the children having a primary residence with one parent and spending time (about one third) with the other parent. If the parents share parenting time (pr physical custody), there is a method prescribed by the guidelines to calculate support.

The child support guidelines are applicable to cases where the parties' gross income is less than $250,000.00. In cases where the parties' gross income is more than that, the Court considers the amount prescribed by the guidelines up to $250,000.00 of income and then awards additional support thereafter if the circumstances warrant additional support.

Recognizing that it is the obligation of all parents to contribute to the support of their children, a minimum order of $80 per month ($18.46 per week) should enter in all cases, regardless of income. The Court maintains discretion to set a higher or lower order, should circumstances warrant, as a deviation from the guidelines.

NEW HAMPSHIRE:
In New Hampshire, child support is determined in accordance with RSA 451-C (The Child Support Guidelines). These guidelines take in to account income, the number of children, the ages of the children, prior support orders, income tax, self employment tax, certain allowable expenses paid for the child and mandatory retirement contributions. The guidelines recognize the responsibility of each parent to financially support the children and that the children of in initial relationship are entitled to the same standard of living as those of a subsequent relationship.
Divorce
Our divorce lawyers understand how difficult divorce can be and we take the time to give you the knowledge you need to relax and work your way through the process.
Serving Massachusetts & New Hampshire:
Including Middleton, Portsmouth, Salem, Cambridge, Lawrence, Derry, Manchester & Boston; Frequently, a party to a divorce action, or a potential divorce action, has questions about the applicable law, the process, the decisions, the cost, support, custody, visitation, Court appearances and the future. There are so many questions flying through your mind that you do not know where to begin and how to start working through the process.

Often we find that parties in this area live in one state and work in another. That creates different legal issues that arise throughout the pendency of your case. We are licensed to practice in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. We will consider all of these issues and use our experience in both states to benefit you and positively effect the outcome of your case.

Our Divorce Lawyers Can Help:
With each step of the case, our divorce attorneys will provide you with a detailed synopsis of what to expect. You will walk into court, or meetings, and know what will happen, what choices you are expected to make and many possible outcomes. Our New Hampshire divorce attorneys believe that preparation is key to helping a client feel informed and confident.

We not only advise you about what to expect, but we also advise you about the law and possible outcomes in an easy to understand manner. Knowledge is power. The more that you understand, the easier your decisions will be to make. We pride ourselves on speaking with our clients in plain language and helping them not only to understand the issues, but the rationale behind them. We provide you with the information that you need to make the decisions that arise along the way with confidence.

You will feel confident when you chose our firm as your representative. You will know what is going to happen. You will know where to go. You will know your strengths and weaknesses and those of your opponent. You will know what the Judge may or may not do. You will know when it is time to negotiate and when it is time to argue. Most importantly, you will know that the attorney standing by your side knows all about you and what is important to you and believes in your case.

All that said, you do not have to hire an attorney for your case. If you feel that you can represent yourself, you are free to do so. Understand that if you do not hire an attorney, you are expected to know the procedure and law in the Court and are held to the decisions that you make in settlement. You cannot go back later to modify orders simply because you didn't know the ramifications of your decisions while representing yourself.

You should consider hiring an attorney, especially if one or more of the following apply to your case:
1. You have minor children;
2. You have been married 10 years or more;
3. There is domestic abuse in the home;
4. You have significant assets;
5. Your home is in jeopardy of foreclosure or short sale;
6. You have multiple real estate properties;
7. You or your spouse are self-employed;
8. You have significant debt;
9. You (or your spouse) wish to move out of state with the minor children; or
10. You (or your spouse) are facing bankruptcy.
Family
Depend on our knowledge and experience to help you with your family law matter.
A breakdown of a marriage, a separation of a family, action of paternity or initiation of any family law proceeding is often a devastating, unfamiliar experience. You may find yourself in a position where you just received paperwork filed by your husband party and you have no idea what comes next. You may find yourself in a position where you wants to file but you are petrified to do it. Most people do not know this process and have many questions about what to do, how to do it, what to consider, how much it will cost and chances of success. That is where we can help.

Knowledge is power. We will explain the process of your particular action in detail so that you are prepared and know what to expect. You will be confident with each step and know what could happen, both good and bad. You will be guided through the process and assisted with preparing documentation and testimony. You will be given the information that you need to consider for every issue to make informed decisions about your future. You will be advised if your position and expectations are realistic. You will be zealously represented for this very important proceeding in your life.

Christine G. DeBernardis

Christine G. DeBernardis earned her BS in Psychology and Law at the College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State College) in 1996. She continued her education at the New England School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts, where she earned a Juris Doctor in 1999. Attorney DeBernardis was admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1999, the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts in 2003 and the State of New Hampshire in 2007.

Practicing Law in Massachusetts and New Hampshire:
Practicing law in two states has helped Attorney DeBernardis become a versatile attorney and given her a large amount of experience which she uses to represent her clients. She applies her knowledge of the laws for both states, and the different perspectives of the two, to benefit her clients with innovative, fresh ideas for their cases. Whether your goal is to negotiate a reasonable settlement for your matter or to litigate the issues in your case, Attorney DeBernardis can use her experience to create several strategies to meet your goals.

As a member of several bars, Attorney DeBernardis works to stay apprised of the ever changing law and is dedicated to applying these changes to ensure that her clients
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